How Much You Can Earn a Year Working for Trucking Companies

Schneider-National-truckReasons for getting into the trucking industry vary by the individual. Some want to break free of the corporate cubicle by working on the wide open highway. Others are tired of water cooler chit-chat, office drama and over-the-shoulder supervisors.

 

The desire to make a good income while having freedom to travel from city to city drives many people toward trucking jobs. After all, truckers spend less than 3 months in truck driving schools, after which they earn a middle-class working wage. Most college graduate jobs can’t compare to the salary of truckers. Whether you are a trucker just starting out in the job market, or an experienced OTR trucker interested in earning more money, you need the facts. Here are the facts regarding how much money you can make every year working for trucking companies.

Understanding Trucking Salaries

The first thing to understand when trying to decipher trucking company salaries is how truckers get paid. Straight up salaries, defined as amounts of money automatically paid to you regardless of the amount of time spent working, do not exist for truckers. As a truck driver your salary depends on a few things:

  • How many miles you drive in order to pick up and deliver loads
  • The haul type you are working with, i.e. dry van loads, reefer trailers, car haulers, etc.
  • The amount of money a consigner or customer is paying to get a load delivered
  • The amount of money you are paid per mile OR the percentage of the delivery payment you receive
  • Your expenses that are job related but not reimbursed, i.e. not getting detention pay or having to dead head home
  • The financial perks of the trucking company benefits afforded to you, i.e. fuel bonus, safety bonus, etc.

For truckers there isn’t a cut and dry number for how much you will earn each year, even when driving for the best paying trucking companies, like Swift Transportation or Averitt Express. However, you can bank on having plenty of work to keep you busy if you want to make the big bucks. The trucking industry is expanding by leaps and bounds. Truck drivers are in high demand in order to keep up with the supply chain for the US, along with exports and imports globally. As a result, you don’t have to worry about trucking jobs losing their good paying status. As the demand for truckers continues to climb, you can only expect to be able to negotiate for better paying trucking jobs as a company driver.

Salaries from Trucking Companies

To give you an estimate of how much some of the leading trucking companies are currently paying truck drivers, here are a few of the top companies and their annual salaries:

Arnold Transportation

Headquartered in Jacksonville, FL, Arnold Transportation has been around since 1980. The main types of trucking jobs offered at Arnold Transportation include OTR trucking jobs, regional trucking jobs to the Southeast, Northeast and Southwest. Arnold Transportation has more than 800 tractors for company drivers. The annual salary for truckers at Arnold Transportation is:

  • $36,000
  • Training pay is $58 a day for drivers in a truck and ready to load
  • Pay is per mile, starting at 30 cents per mile
  • After 1 year drivers get 33 cents per mile; after 2 years they earn 35 cents per mile; and after 5 years they get 37 cents per mile

ATS Trucking aka Anderson Trucking Service

At Anderson Trucking Service, drivers take loads including heavy equipment hauls, flatbed loads and dry van loads. Primarily the truckers working at ATS are over the road truck drivers with some emphasis on specialization. The annual salary of ATS truck drivers is:

  • $30,000 according to PayScale
  • $85,000 for flatbed haulers, dry van loads and specialized haul types for OTR trucking jobs according to Anderson Trucking Service
  • $106,000 for heavy equipment haulers according to ATS
  • Jobs including regional trucking jobs, dedicated trucking jobs or OTR range from 48 to 50 cents per mile

Averitt Express

Averitt Express serves 28 states across the Southeast, offering truckers regional trucking jobs. You can pull dry van loads, regional truckload hauls, dedicated/supply chain loads, or dedicated flex jobs at Averitt Express. For truck drivers working full-time at Averitt Express you can expect to earn:

  • $50,680 annually
  • Starting pay is 40 to 46 cents per mile depending on delivery location
  • For dedicated supply chain trucking jobs you can earn approximately $1,250 a week, or $62,500 annually

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Conway Freight

Truckers working for Conway Freight are part of one of the longest running trucking companies in the US, established in 1929. The payroll at Conway Freight includes more than 28,500 people. Truck drivers handle dry van freight, in addition to LTL hauls and truckload jobs. For solo OTR truckers the annual pay as reported in 2011 was:

  • $52,500

Crete Carrier

Drivers for Crete Carrier are part of a network of more than 4,200 truck drivers operating 4,000-plus tractors pulling 9,600 trailers. Crete Carrier is focused on dry van trucking jobs. However, they are partnered with Schaffer Trucking, which takes in reefer trucking jobs. Based in Lincoln, NE, Crete Carrier truckers annually earn:

  • Between $52,000 and $62,000

Schneider Trucking

Truckers working for Schneider Trucking start out earning money. As a trucker in training and orientation you will bring home:

  • $460 per week

Once you’ve successfully completed training you can specialize within a division under Schneider National. This will better determine your bring-home pay. For truckers who take hazardous materials loads or tanker loads, which requires CDL endorsements, you have the ability to earn more than truckers sticking to dry van trucking jobs. Here is the pay you can expect to bring home from Schneider Trucking:

  • Average annual salary ranges from $21,152 to $68,291
  • 28 to 30 cents per mile starting out
  • 31 cents per mile after 6 months
  • 34 cents per mile after 1 year

Werner Trucking

For truckers working for Werner Enterprises, a company that’s been around since 1956, you are among one of the biggest trucking companies in the US. Based in Omaha, NE, Werner Trucking has 7,250 tractors and 25,000 trailers. The bulk of freight hauled by Werner is dry van loads. However, their truckers also handle flatbed trucking jobs and reefer trailers. As the types of trucking jobs vary, so does the annual pay, which ranges from:

  • $28,298 to $55,149

As you can see, the amount of money you can expect to make when driving for a trucking company varies greatly. Some ways you can get on that higher end include:

  • Increase your specialization by taking all variety of trucking jobs ranging from different haul types to delivery routes.
  • Do a good job on every single delivery.
  • Don’t get caught up in “office politics” that involves gossiping, backstabbing or undercutting your fellow truckers; you want to make friends, not enemies.
  • Show up ready to drive, willing to go that extra mile, and capable of taking on the unexpected, such as freak rain storms, construction work or heavy traffic.
  • Stay at a job for at least a year before transferring to a different trucking company, even if they offer better pay and benefits. Your long range CSA score will take a ding if you constantly move around among trucking companies.

Just as with any job, the harder you work and the smarter you work, the better off you are in the end. Same goes for trucking jobs at the best paying trucking companies.

How to Maintain Healthy Relationships as Truck Drivers

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Truck drivers, you are sons, cousins, husbands, sisters and grandparents, just like everyone else. However, your job keeps you away from home often enough to make social relations tense. That doesn’t mean you are expected to be anti-social robots of the road. Having solid and healthy relationships provide you with fuel to keep you focused on the task at hand. After all, having something worth driving for — and worth going home to — makes the miles logged over the road all worth it in the end. If you are struggling with relationships and spending time with your spouse, take this information and put it to good use to help you along your way.

Positive Reasons for Relationships for Truckers

Humans are social by nature. Maintaining relationships helps us maintain sanity. Even the most introverted people want to have people who care about them and connect with them. Truckers are no exception, by any means. Having the ability to have a family, whether extended or close, or at least a few friends back home gives you someone on the proverbial other side. Given the loneliness of a trucker’s job this feeling of connectivity back home can make quite the difference. Trucking companies do not a family make. While truckers in general should understand the importance of maintaining relationships, for their own mental and emotional wellbeing, family and friends should also step up to the plate and be supportive of truck drivers and their social needs. This mutual understanding works both ways.

Make Time for Extended Family Members

As a trucker taking over the road trucking jobs you can’t make it to every birthday party, holiday get together or wedding. However, whenever you have the home time to do so, you should make it happen if at all possible. So what if you haven’t RSVP’d? Keep in contact and let your loved ones know you will try to be there if work allows. That will suffice, and it will keep the welcoming door open in case you do make it home.

Getting to be a part of these memorable events is great. However, you shouldn’t wait until special occasions and holidays roll around before you see your family members. At least once a month when you are at home, invite your extended family:

  • Out for dinner
  • To a ballgame
  • To the local park
  • Just to hang out at your house

Make it a point to stay connected to your loved ones. If you have family members willing to make time for you, then count yourself fortunate and take advantage of that time. While everyone is busy these days, between juggling kids and school to working long weeks, the more times you commit to catching up with your family the better off you will be. Some ways you can make your time more interesting include:

  • Taking photos using your digital camera and smartphone, and bring the device to show your relatives places you’ve seen.
  • Go the extra mile by having your photos printed or made into a photo book, which is cheap and easy to do with the digital photo labs at places like Walgreens, Costco or Wal-Mart.
  • Collect some type of keepsake, such as shot glasses or spoons, from each state you visit and give those to different family members each time you are around.
  • Make short videos of your travels and burn them on blank DVDs to give out to loved ones.
  • Prepare by having plenty of good stories to tell your family members about your life on the road.
  • Offer to help the kids with their geography or social studies assignments by discussing different cities, states, regions and land forms you’ve driving through or besides.

By finding ways to showcase your life as a trucker you let your family members bond with you in a personal manner. They’ll remember you as that cool uncle or sister or grandfather who just happened to drive a truck all across the US. By the time you retire, you’ll have family members to hang out with and keep you company thanks to the lifetime of love you put into your relationships.

Keep Connections with Close Family

Going closer to home, your immediate family members are the ones who are most affected by your career choice. In most situations the fact that you are a trucker is understood and appreciated. After all, you are working in a stable industry, making good money, and being supportive financially for your family. Sometimes the money isn’t enough, though, and that’s when the real work comes in. Having a family when you are an over the road trucker is strenuous at times, but it’s completely possible. This isn’t the only occupation where one family member is gone a lot. Think about military families, parents who are CEOs, and mothers or fathers whose jobs require them to travel frequently, such as public speakers, politicians or professional nature photographers. You also have nurses and doctors who work extremely long shifts and a lot of them.

The fact of the matter is, in this day and age people work a lot. It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, if you want to make a successful career and steady income you have to put in the hours. Same goes for trucking, the only difference between in the distance traveled for your job. That being said, it doesn’t make it any easier for anyone — trucker, stay-behind-parent, or kids. Thankfully there are ways to help ease the burden and pass the time without feeling left behind when you go out on the road. Here are some activities to do to keep your family relationships in good order as a truck driver:

  • Call home every single night. It doesn’t matter how tired you are, or if you have to leave a voice mail. That commitment and act of caring shows you are there emotionally, even when you are a thousand miles away.
  • Incorporate videos into your communication at least once a week. Create videos of things you’ve seen on the road and send them to your kids, which will give them a good US geography and history lesson along side. Use instant video, i.e. FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Skype, etc., to go ‘live’ with your family members. This is the best thing you can do if you can’t be there.
  • Have your kids and your spouse, along with yourself, all keep journals while you are away so that you can read them when you get home, and so they can read yours. These journals should detail the daily stuff, those often boring things that happen to people, which will help you feel like you were there with them when you can’t be. This will help them emotionally, as well, as journal writing is a great practice of mental health. These journals will also be great keepsakes for everyone as you grow older.

Relationships are the butter of any person’s bread. They help us feel good about ourselves, and help us stay on the right path when we are feeling lost. Being a trucker doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have relationships. It just means you have to find a different route to take to make your relationships as rich and successful as your career is making you as a trucker.

Ice Road Truckers: How Much Money Can They Make?

ice-road-truckers

Confession time. How many times did you tune in to “Ice Road Truckers” to see Lisa Kelly behind the wheel? Seeing a woman driving a big rig, not to mention one that is easy on the eyes, is not too common. After all, the truck driving industry is dominated by 95 percent male drivers. But that isn’t the wildest thing. Kelly, as reported by OverDrive, drives on some of the most dangerous roads in the world, ice roads of arctic territories in Canada and Alaska.

She isn’t the only driver, of course, which adds to the interest and begs the question. “If these drivers can drive ice roads and make a killing doing it, why can’t I?” If you are wondering how much money ice road trucking could earn you, back up a bit. First you need to think about what is involved in these high paying, high stakes trucking jobs.

Exploring the Ice Roads

Roads traversed by ice truckers are every other truck driver’s worst nightmare. Ice roads are constructed by humans as a corridor that goes across otherwise inaccessible terrain. They are by definition frozen, and are typically refrozen each year. Often ice roads are actually frozen ponds, lakes, swamps and rivers that are designated as ice roads for the season. While the most common ice roads are known in Canada and Alaska, thanks to “Ice Road Truckers,” these roads are also utilized in Wisconsin, Michigan, China, Russia, Scandinavia and Estonia.

Since these roads are made out of ice, they are super slick and must be traveled at a snail’s pace. For example, in Alaska the ice road extending from the Arctic Ocean over to Prudhoe Bay, which is one of the longest, has a max speed limit of 10 miles per hour. Why make roads out of ice when airways seem safer? Airplanes are super expensive thanks to fuel costs, construction and maintenance of airports and runways, and hiring personnel.

Additionally, when shipments need to be delivered they need to happen on demand to a smaller number of consumers. The Arctic, for instance, isn’t exactly exploding with overpopulation. Fresh food can’t sit in storage for weeks waiting on other supplies to arrive for a large scale shipment via airways. Instead, truck drivers can haul in the goods as need be, for a much cheaper freight cost and quicker time table. Furthermore, some items, such as heavy equipment hauling jobs, are impractical to try to fly over in an airplane. Ice truckers offer a more reasonable way to get goods to these desolate places. What exactly are ice truckers so determined to deliver on those frosty mountain roads?

  • Businesses in the boonies, such as bars and grocery stores
  • Restaurants and retailers stocking up with supplies
  • Institutional customers, i.e. schools and hospitals in need of supplies and food
  • Oil rig workers and miners depend on ice truckers for everything from supplies and equipment, to food and fuel

Risks of Ice Roads

iced-roads

While ice road trucking jobs are vital to the economies of isolated, frozen regions, and frozen roads help to make this happen, you can’t ignore the elephant in the sleeper. These jobs are deadly. After all, you are sitting behind the wheel of a multi-ton tractor-trailer that is careening across a road made entirely out of ice. Simply driving over a road with some icy spots is dangerous enough for most truckers. Imagine being in a constant sliding motion as you make your deliveries. It’s enough to scare most truckers away from the big payday. However, that isn’t the only risk associated with ice road trucking:

  • Freezing temperatures that commonly dip to 45F degrees below 0
  • Wind chills that make the air feel like it’s 95F degrees below 0
  • Snowstorms and blizzards causing whiteout conditions where you can’t see one foot in front of your windshield, yet you are unable to slow down or stop to wait it out
  • Avalanches from surrounding mountains that roll over your rig and trap you on the ice in a standstill motion
  • Ice cracking or fractures that you can’t see until you are on top of it
  • Mechanical failures due to the extremely cold temperatures
  • Hypothermia from being unable to keep your body temperature regulated
  • Fear of getting stuck, lost or breaking down without any hope for help to rescue you before you freeze to death
  • Being on ice roads when they are thawing at the end of the season

Ice roads are strong, thankfully, and can hold up to 100,000 pounds. However, a truck has to be constantly moving in order for this to work properly. When a truck comes to a stop, the ice begins to lose its strength. The holding capacity dips to 60,000 pounds. Therefore, having any sort of mechanical issue when driving over an ice road is a sure way to seal a trucker’s fate, below the freezing ice top.

Getting an Ice Road Trucking Job

If you are interested in driving on the ice roads, keep in mind you’ll have to take a different route than you would if you were getting OTR trucking jobs, reefer loads or heavy equipment hauls. Additionally, the major trucking companies, such as Swift Transportation, CR England and Werner Trucking, aren’t on the ice road circuit. These jobs require a different approach:

  • You have to have experience as a truck driver with a solid trucking career behind the wheel and a great reputation in the industry. Rookies need not apply.
  • You have to know the right people. This means making the best impression possible at every truck stop, trucking company and customer. Your reputation will precede you as you network in the ice road community.
  • You need to have the skills to do the job. This requires being accustomed to cold weather/winter driving conditions.

Set yourself up for success by understanding that being an ice road trucker is much more real than it appears on “reality” TV. Your life is at stake when you take on the ice roads. While the pay is great, that pay covers the risk involved.

Seasonal Salary of Ice Road Trucking Jobs

Driving a truck across roads made of ice offers quite the bank in bucks. Some sources show that ice road truckers earn anywhere from $20,000 to $80,000 a season, while other sources indicate seasonal payouts of up to $250,000. One would suspect that the “Ice Road Truckers” on the History Channel are the ones scoring the quarter million dollar paycheck.

However, the lips of the History Channel’s execs are sealed regarding what those IRT stars are getting paid. If you are an untelevised, regular truck driver who wants to take on the ice roads of Alaska and Canada, you can earn an average of $40,000 for your seasonal salary. While that doesn’t look too appealing, considering the median trucker salary for continental, black top truckers is $40,000, think about the length of an arctic season. Your trucking season will typically run from January 15 to March 15, give or take a few weeks or months due to the nature of northern climates.

If you follow the theories behind climate change, then well, you would argue that ice road trucking seasons are going to be cut even shorter over the next few decades. Either way, you are capable of earning about $40,000 in two months. There isn’t another trucking job available at any of the best paying trucking companies that can pay you $20,000 a month. That is some serious money in the bank.

For many ice road truckers they take on the Arctic’s ice roads in season, and then drive less dangerous trucking routes the rest of the year. However, for drivers who live in the arctic it’s financially feasible to drive a truck during ice trucking season, and either take off, travel or do other seasonal work the rest of the year. If you are considering a change of pace in your trucking career, ice road trucking as an Alaskan or Canadian resident will definitely give you a new perspective and environment.

The Best Way to Choose a Trucking Company is for its Benefits

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When it comes down to choosing a trucking company to work for, you want to get on with the best paying trucking carrier. That is understandable, but how do you pick and choose with so many trucking companies around? The most common way to select a company is by looking at their offered pay rate, whether pay is percentage, hourly or by the mile. However, benefits packages have the ability to outweigh a basic pay rate.

For example, say you are looking at taking a different trucking job with a trucking company that pays a mediocre percentage rate compared to your current employer. But your 401K will be matched 100 percent and you get 14 days of paid leave a year, in addition to a more affordable health insurance plan. In the end, the benefits are worth much more than the pay rate, so your best bet would be to take the new trucking job.

Consider the bargaining power of benefits packages when searching for the best paying trucking companies. To aid in your search, here are the benefits offered to drivers working in trucking jobs for some of the most popular companies around.

Arnold Transportation

When getting a trucking job with Arnold Transportation here are the benefits truckers can look forward to:

  • Comprehensive benefits including life, disability, prescription and health insurance along with vision and dental, of which you are eligible after 90 days of full-time employment
  • 401K plan allows you to contribute up to 75 percent after 6 months of being employed with Arnold Transportation; the company does not match funds
  • Paid for your time during orientation

ATS Trucking

At Anderson Trucking Service truck drivers receive a multitude of benefits:

  • Up to a $2,500 sign-on bonus
  • Pay for all meals, singles rooms, and transportation costs for orientation
  • Health, life and dental insurance coverage
  • 401K plan where you can contribute up to 70 percent of your salary, and ATS will match 50 percent of the first 4 percent that you contribute, but only up to $1,000 in company contributions
  • Option of a Roth 401K in which you can contribute up to $18,000 a year
  • Paid vacation time of five days for employees with one to three years employed; 10 days for three to 10 years; and 15 days for 10 or more years’ employment
  • Bonus programs including various employee discounts, employee assistance services, and flexible spending accounts

Averitt Express

At Averitt Express the wellbeing of truck drivers is paramount. In addition to various health insurance programs, those drivers who complete well-care programs to improve their health can receive reduced insurance premiums.

  • Life, health, hearing care, disability, medical, dental, prescriptions and vision coverage available after the first 90 days of employment
  • Wellness programs including smoking cessation
  • Paid vacation days of one week after one year; two weeks after three years; three weeks after 11 years
  • Eight paid holidays after working at Averitt Express for six months, with pay based on your length of employment
  • Discounts on cell phone service, computers and vehicles through associate partnerships
  • Counseling for individuals and families via 24/7 access
  • 401K and profit-sharing retirement plans with contributions possible for up to 75 percent beginning 90 days after you start your job
  • Options to join the Southeast Financial Federal Credit Union (SFFCU)
  • Safety and service awards
  • A referral program

Barr Nunn

For truck drivers working at Barr Nunn there is an extensive list of benefits:

  • Safety bonuses of paid time off or $350 to $525 in bonuses every 90 days, as well as a 1/2 cent increase for every 40,000 miles safely driven
  • Paid time off of three to nine days tacked on at milage increments of 60,000, so every 60,000 miles driven gives drivers another three to nine days
  • 401K plan includes company contributions of 2 cents per mile for each mile a driver is dispatched, with team drivers earning 1 cent per person per mile
  • Accessorial pay program offers detention pay, pay for loading/unloading by hand, and layover pay
  • Freebies include $10,000 in life insurance and PrePass Plus
  • For orientation, lodging and breakfast/lunch are provided by Barr Nunn
  • HazMat drivers automatically earn more when they have this endorsement, even if they aren’t taking hazardous materials loads
  • Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance and prescription card with optional vision

Celadon Trucking

Truck drivers working for Celadon Trucking get a chance to receive the following benefits:

  • Medical insurance via Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield
  • Dental, vision, disability and life insurance options available
  • A 401k retirement plan with Merrill Lynch of contributions up to 75 percent
  • An onsite facility that includes a full-sized basketball court, racquetball court, space for daily workout classes, and a workout room with a variety of equipment
  • An onsite medical center offering primary physician care, exercise couching, nutritional counseling, prescriptions, worker’s comp. rehabiliation and physical therapy sessions

Conway Freight

Conway is one of the most well-known trucking companies spotted from coast to coast. Some of the benefits afforded to those with Conway trucking jobs include:

  • A bonus plan aka the variable pay program offering pay increases based on group performance throughout the year
  • Health insurance including medical, dental, vision and prescription drugs, which is available for truckers on the first day on the trucking job
  • An optional health savings account
  • Life insurance
  • 401k with 2 percent matching for new truckers, and employee stock purchase plan for retirement options
  • For graduates of truck driving schools Conway Freight offers paid tuition and tuition reimbursement for up to $4,000
  • Conway Truckload drivers considered team, solo and regional, with the exception of dedicated truckers, can be honored as Driver of the Month and Driver of the Year
  • Recognition goes to drivers with a million miles behind the wheel
  • For military veterans Conway Truckload who are eligible for the GI Bill, they can receive up to $1,035 a month for the first year in addition to their salary as a trucker
  • Health and wellness programs are available

Crete Carrier

At Crete Carrier truck driving jobs are focused on dry van loads in particular. They hire team drivers, OTR truckers, regional truckers, and for dedicated trucking jobs. Here are the benefits of working at Crete Carrier, which begin after you’ve been working at Crete for 30 days:

  • Insurance including health, dental, vision, life and short term disability
  • Traditional and Roth 401k options that are 100 percent fully vested immediately
  • 401k Match in which Crete matches every $1 you invest with 10 cents on your first 5 percent contributed; is fully vested in 3 years
  • A profit sharing plan that is fully vested in 6 years
  • Vacation pay of one week for one year, two weeks for two years, and three weeks for every year after 10 years employed by Crete Carrier
  • Military leave
  • Up to $100 a day for jury duty

CRST Trucking

Truckers interested in team trucking jobs should check into CRST International, the largest team trucking carrier in the US. This trucking company includes several fleets including Expedited, Malone, Dedicated, STI, and the BESL Transfer Company. The benefits for driving for CRST include:

  • A sign-on bonus
  • Payment of $100 if you go for your hazmat endorsement on your CDL, which is to cover the cost of fingerprinting, the background check, etc.
  • Dead head pay
  • Paydays are twice weekly
  • Insurance options include health, pharmacy, dental and vision, as well as short term disability and free life insurance
  • After 90 days of employment, 401k retirement plan is available with 50 percent matching for the first 6 percent of your trucking salary, after you have worked there for one year; it takes 6 years to be fully vested
  • Paid vacation time of $300/one week for one year of employment; 1/52nd of annual salary or $300 minimum for two weeks off for second through ninth years of employment; for 10 or more years you get the same payment schedule along with three weeks off
  • Employee assistance program to help truckers going through marital distress, financial problems, life adjustments, general stress or family difficulties
  • Various employment discounts from companies including AT&T, Lenscrafters, Sprint PCS, Verizon, and HP

CR England

CR England is one of the longest running trucking companies, being established in 1920. Based out of Salt Lake City, Utah, CR England provides reefer trucking jobs, along with regional, intermodal and OTR trucking jobs. If you are interested in driving for CR England here are the benefits you will be eligible to receive:

  • Insurance including life, dental, vision and health care coverage; health care is available after 30 days, and life insurance is offered at 6 months after employment
  • 401k retirement plan is available after 12 months of employment for up to 3 percent matching on 10 percent of your contribution
  • Paid vacation time includes one week paid vacation for one year of employment; two weeks for two years; three weeks for 10 years; and four weeks after 15 years

Dart Trucking

Truckers who get trucking jobs with Dart Trucking have a few options including Dartco and Dart Express. For truckers at Dart you can look forward to access to the following trucker benefits:

  • A sign-on bonus of $3,000
  • $100 to $500 in orientation pay
  • Detention pay for more than two hours of sitting time
  • $20 for extra stops
  • Up to $100 for passing a DOT inspection
  • Paid vacation of one week after one year; two weeks after two years; three weeks after five years; and four weeks after 12 years
  • Six paid holidays annually
  • Extensive medical benefits including preventative care, doctors’ visits, emergency care, prescriptions, medical supplies, ambulance service, home healthcare, and inpatient/outpatient services
  • Insurance options include life and dental coverage
  • 401k plan after 30 days of employment

Gordon Trucking

Gordon Trucking was purchased by Heartland Express in 2013. However, two sons from the original owner continue to be a part of the leadership at Heartland. This dedication to service means truckers are able to retain solid benefits with Gordon Trucking:

  • Life, dental, vision and health insurance options
  • 401k plan with company matching
  • Up to $4,000 reimbursement for attending truck driving schools prior to being hired at Gordon Trucking
  • Flexible spending account
  • Weekly pay check
  • Dock detention pay after one hour of sitting

Heartland Express

In lieu of the buyout of Gordon Trucking by Heartland Express, here are the benefits granted to truckers working for these combined trucking companies:

  • Paid orientation for new drivers
  • Paid vacation
  • 401k retirement plan with 50 percent corporate matching, but no word on the vesting period
  • Safety bonuses of up to 3 cents per mile
  • Health, dental and life insurance
  • Free Wi-Fi available at truck stops and terminals associated with Heartland Express
  • Detention pay after one hour of sitting
  • Discounts provided for a wide range of items including cell phones, hotels, computers and electronics

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JB Hunt

This is one of the most well known trucking companies on the roads today. Known for being one of the better paying trucking companies, JB Hunt offers:

  • Medical insurance plans including optional vision, dental and prescription coverage along with driver disability
  • Access to a healthcare reimbursement account and dependent care reimbursement account
  • Life insurance and accident death and dismemberment, free thanks to JB Hunt
  • 401k retirement plan including company matching of 50 cents for every $1 you contribute, up to 3 percent, but you have to contribute 6 percent of your pay to get the matching
  • Paid vacations, orientation and safety training
  • Optional per diem payments for those with hefty tax burdens
  • Safety bonuses for million mile drivers with awards ranging from $5,000 to $40,000
  • Monthly performance bonuses of up to 2 cents per mile

Roehl

As a part of Team Roehl you will be part of one of the safest fleets on the highways. Roehl is a regular recipient of safety awards, such as the President’s Trophy Award and the Truckload Carriers Association’s (TCA) Annual National Fleet Safety Grand Prize. In addition to getting a trucking job with a company prizing your safety, you will reap the following rewards:

  • Health insurance, as well as dental and vision
  • Short and long term disability along with life insurance
  • Flexible spending account for child care and health care expenses
  • Wellness program for sufferers of obstructive sleep apnea
  • Employee assistance plan that allows you to speak with a guidance counselor on issues related to your spouse, family, finances, personal stress or hardships
  • 401k plan and joint profit sharing plan that allows you to earn additional money from the corporation based on the overall success of Roehl, and you are completely vested after 6 years of working at Roehl
  • Paid holidays after 12 months of employment, which include New Year’s Day, Labor Day, Memorial Day, Christmas Day, Independence Day, and Thanksgiving Day
  • Paid vacation days of one week for one year of work; two weeks for two years; three weeks for eight years; and four weeks for 20 years

Schneider Trucking

Truckers at Schneider Trucking have some benefits options that other trucking companies offer. So how does Schneider stand out from the crowd? This company offers a few extra perks along with the premium trucking benefits they provide for their truckers:

  • Paid vacation time of one week for one year; two weeks for two years; three weeks for seven years; and four weeks for 15 years
  • Access into the Advantage Club after five years of working for Schneider, which comes with such perks as tickets to NASCAR races, NFL games, high end dinners, and all expenses paid trips
  • Military leave, as well as paid leave and some benefits for up to 18 months if you are involuntarily called into active duty, i.e. a national emergency situation
  • 401k plan in which Schneider matches up to 6 percent of your contributions, along with 50 cents for every $1 you contribute if that amount is 1 to 4 percent of your salary, while 5 to 6 percent invested from your salary is matched $1 for $1
  • Up to $6,000 reimbursement for recent graduates of truck driving schools
  • Miscellaneous discounts and debt management/financial services

Swift Trucking

Another one of the frontrunners of the national trucking companies offering top pay for truckers is Swift Transportation. This trucking company awards its drivers with these benefits:

  • Medical insurance along with dental, vision and prescription plans
  • Life, disability, group accident and critical illness insurance
  • Employee assistance program that offers counseling for you and your family, along with referrals for other programs, such as drug rehabilitation, psychologists, or eating disorders
  • 401k retirement plan, available after the first 12 months of employment, where Swift matches you dollar for dollar for up to 3 percent of your contribution, which is one of the best corporate contributions out there
  • Opportunity to purchase employee stock
  • Paid vacation days include five days off and $400 for one year of service; 10 days off and $1,000 for two to four years working; and 15 days off and $1,800 for five or more years

US Xpress

This trucking company is the second largest privately owned trucking carrier in the US. Specializing in dry van truck loads, UX Xpress has more than 8,000 tractors pulling greater than 22,000 different dry van trailers. US Xpress, not to be confused with the misspelled US Express, grants its truck drivers with a bevy of benefits:

  • Healthcare along with vision and dental insurance coverage available after the first 60 days of employment
  • Short and long term disability, accidental death and dismemberment, and group term life insurance options
  • $10,000 in life insurance given to you by US Xpress
  • 401k retirement plan
  • Various pay bonuses including layover pay, detention pay, retention pay, extra pickup/drop off pay and per diem pay
  • Paid orientation of approximately $60 per day for three days, as well as the mandatory 150 training period
  • Recent grads of truck driving schools earn $150 a month for up to $4,000 total

Werner Trucking

Last but certainly not least is Werner Trucking, a global trucking company with offices Australia, Mexico, China, Canada and the US. At Werner, the trucking benefits are along the lines of other big name trucking companies. Here are the benefits for company drivers at Werner, which mind you differ from owner operator benefits and those afforded to fleet owners:

  • Health insurance including medical, dental, and vision coverage
  • Insurance benefits of supplemental life, short term disability, cancer, intensive care, and accidental disability
  • 401k plan for drivers after 6 months of employment, offering company match and the ability to be fully vested after 5 years of Werner trucking jobs

As you can see, the benefits of trucking companies are pretty standard across the board. Many of the companies offer medical insurance coverage, but the costs and reimbursements of these policies are where you can lose big time. The same goes with 401k retirement plans, which are typical offerings from trucking companies. While these trucking companies have ample benefits and bonus packages, you still need to ask the detailed questions before signing any dotted lines.

For example, if you are concerned about saving enough for retirement, and hoping to get the most bang for your 401k bucks, ask for the updated policies regarding company matching from prospective employees. If you have a young family or a family member with health issues you will want to choose an affordable, albeit quality and flexible healthcare option. These benefits are wonderful for truckers, but if you are choosing a trucking job based on benefits make sure you do your homework. Finally, get everything in writing, i.e. brochures of health insurance benefits, bonus programs for truckers. This gives you the ability to stay up to date on all of the benefits offered to you.

Should Flip Flops be Banned for Truckers?

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“Truckers who wear flip flops are not real truckers. They look like lazy beach bums. They aren’t real men.” That is one side of this argument frequently shared among truckers on web forums and in trucker lounges. On the other are truckers saying they wouldn’t be able to survive wearing cowboy boots and tight fitting jeans while sitting behind the wheel all day. Those truckers’ sweaty feet can’t breathe, and the jeans make one miserable and uncomfortable. So what’s the right answer to the question, should flip flops be banned by truckers? Let’s weigh the pros and cons.

Flip Flop Mentality

When you see someone wearing gym shorts and flip flops you get the feeling they just rolled out of bed. They give the impression that getting dressed in the morning isn’t important to them. One would even think they were unemployed, maybe sleeping on their parents’ sofa. But wait, truck drivers wear flip flops, and you know that truckers are hard working folk — in general. So seeing a trucker in flip flops throws you for a loop…you don’t know what to think. Maybe the flip flop wearing trucker hates their job or life? Or maybe they are just lazy and don’t give a rip what others think? That is the great conundrum, and those who wear flip flops are viewed in a negative light by those who don’t sport this floppy shoe.

Comfort into Consideration

If you ask a flip flop wearing trucker why he wears that particular type of shoe, chances are they’ll say it’s for comfort. After all, when you are sitting behind the wheel of a truck all day, it’s nice to let your feet be unconstricted. It lets your feet breathe, which combats athlete’s foot, a common disease shared in trucker showers and bred in the warm, stifling environment of cowboy boots. You can slip them on and off when you are getting out to fuel up or go to the restroom. At the same time, when you work alone you don’t have to dress up for anybody. You can wear what you want, and if you want to wear flip flops that’s your own business.

Representing the Industry

Another viewpoint of truckers wearing flip flops is the way this represents the trucking industry, not to mention national trucking companies, like Barr Nunn, Conway Freight or Dart Trucking. Even though you aren’t working in an office environment, you are representative of trucking as a whole. Some of the better paying trucking companies, like JB Hunt or CR England, are likely to have a standard dress code that follows certain safety rules.

If you are an independent trucker or owner operator looking for trucking jobs yourself, you should consider your appearance even more. After all, you want to make the best impression on your consigners and receivers when getting loads. As an independent driver, whether you are taking reefer loads, dry van loads or car carrier jobs, you represent your business. Would you do business with someone who looked like they just rolled out of bed? Probably not since they are giving a sloppy and careless impression. Whether or not flip flops should be worn by truckers, it stands to reason that wearing this type of footwear into a shipper’s office is going to lead to the wrong idea about the trucker.

Trucker’s Uniform

In the trucking industry there isn’t a standard issue trucker’s uniform that all drivers must wear. Keep in mind that some trucking companies like Conway Freight and JB Hunt, require you to wear a corporate uniform, such as a collared shirt with a logo or a certain color of pants. Many LTL carriers, like UPS and FedEx, obviously have a required standard. However, for truckers in general, you can wear SpongeBob pajama pants and wife beater shirts if you so desire. But to certain generations there is an unstated understanding of what truckers should wear.
For the baby boomer generation, those who are near retirement age, the standard issue trucker’s uniform is a pair of blue jeans, preferably tight fitting, along with cowboy boots. Top that with a button up shirt, in flannel for winter months, and a cowboy hat or baseball cap. Sunglasses optional, but not typical since “tea shades” were a Seventies thing and symbolic of rebels or dopers.

Now we are seeing more truckers of the millennial generation, which brings in a whole new approach to the trucker’s uniform. Rather than dressing to some unwritten code, this new era of truckers are dressing for themselves. They are looking to be comfortable and individualistic. This means wearing tee shirts, gym pants or sweatpants, and slip-on sandals, which include flip flops. Cowboy hats are a no go, but baseball caps and skull caps are all the rage. Sunglasses, preferably high-end stylish brands, are a must.
As you can see the differences in these generations’ choice of what to wear as a trucker are striking. It’s little wonder that coming to a common ground is so difficult.

A Safety Hazard

One of the biggest issues with wearing flip flops when driving a big rig is the safety factor. For instance, the base of a flip flop can get wedged or hooked on an acceleration pedal, leading you to have an accident as you can’t move your foot out of place in time. Another instance would be if your truck catches on fire, either suddenly or because of a vehicle accident. Try running with flip flops on, or better yet, without these shoes melting on the scene. You are much safer wearing heavy duty work boots or even running shoes. Some customers require you to wear safety gear, i.e. steel-toed boots, safety glasses and a hard hat. For instance, if you are a steel hauler you must wear all safety gear. Other industries, such as bull hauler loads, car haulers, and heavy equipment hauling, are going to require you to wear safe footwear.

OSHA Rules for Flip Flops

OSHA safety guidelines indicate that in a workplace, i.e. your tractor-trailer, you have to wear a boot or shoe that has a full sole and a heel. This is required for safety since truckers are climbing in and out of their tractors, reefer trailers, dry vans, and across their cat-walk. Therefore if your company mandates OSHA regulations, then you are responsible for wearing the appropriate footwear. If you don’t and you go to file a worker’s compensation claim for something like slipping or falling, if they find that you weren’t wearing safe footwear your claim will be shot out of the water. Keep in mind this federal organization has ways of finding out these things, such as video camera footage at truck stops or loading docks showing you wearing a certain type of footwear. If they see you in flip flops, on the day of your accident, you can bet your bottom dollar they’ll find you were to fault because of your choice of heel-less shoes.

A Trucker’s Decision

So while there isn’t an industry standard for wearing a certain type of shoe as a trucker, there are pros and cons for and against wearing flip flops. However, you aren’t going to get a bad inspection from the DOT because you choose flip flops over cowboy boots. You might get some dirty looks from other truckers, but there’s not a law saying you can’t wear flip flops. Of course, if your trucking company or customers require something in particular you have to follow suit on your footwear.

How to Stop Truckers from Leaving the Industry

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The trucking industry has struggled for years with a high rate of driver turnover. The problem is particularly severe among long-haul operators. Even more disturbing though, is the recent drop in driver retention rates as truckers leave truck driving jobs altogether for other careers.

Why Are Truckers Leaving the Trade?

Trucking can be a tough business. Long haul drivers spend anywhere from one week to a month on the road each trip. They also end up spending one day at home for every seven spent on the road. If you stay out for a week, you get twenty-four hours off-duty: usually on a weekend. This makes taking care of personal matters, such as scheduling a doctor’s appointment or attending a parent-teacher conference, nearly impossible. A lack of time spent at home is a major cause of drivers leaving the industry for good.

Most truck drivers that quit the business do so during the first year. Many discover that the trucking life is just not for them. Some give in to the pressure and stress that new drivers experience. Others are disappointed with lower than expected miles, too much downtime, or erratic work schedules. This is also part of the conversation as to how the industry can attract millennial truckers.

A truck driver’s value increases greatly with experience, but for some people this process just takes too long. Truckers often go from job to job – adding to the industry turnover rate – because of some dissatisfaction with their current position. Skilled drivers are in high demand and confident of finding another trucking job.

Tougher rules for driver physicals have also contributed to the retention problem. Truckers must obtain a new medical card, signed by a DOT approved physician, a minimum of every two years. Doctors are facing more liability if they approve a driver that turns out not to be medically fit according to regulations, so potential problems that may have been overlooked in the past are now grounds for medical disqualification.

Most truck drivers will have to deal with staggered and erratic shifts at some point. Freight moves twenty-four hours a day, so a load may be scheduled for pick-up at 3:00 a.m. on a Tuesday morning and only one driver in the area is available to grab it.

Let’s say this driver just delivered a load at 9:00 a.m. on a Monday. The driver has 11 hours of on-duty time left, but dispatch does not have a load available until the one at 3:00 a.m. Tuesday morning.

The driver goes off duty before lunch and is assigned the 3:00 a.m. load. Sleep cannot be forced, so the driver does not drift off until ten or eleven o’clock that night.

The alarm goes off at 2:00 a.m.

Carriers don’t do this lightly. It may seem that way when arguing with them about the problem, but it is their job is to make sure that loads are picked-up and delivered on time; customers won’t hesitate to drop a carrier that is late too often, and missing a scheduled pick-up can mean losing an account. In addition, shipping contracts sometimes include fines for trucking companies that are late with cargo or do not show up at all.

The problem is the way dispatchers sometimes deal with these issues. Drivers have legitimate objections; they end up wasting available hours, losing money, and feeling exhausted. These things increase stress levels, which leads to even more problems.

Dispatchers should let drivers know that helping out in these situations is appreciated, and then prove it by assigning the driver a few good runs to offset the miles they lost. Truck drivers respond much better to the carrot than the stick.

How Can Companies Retain Truck Drivers?

With a general shortage of qualified truck drivers, especially in the over-the-road sector, it seems that trucking companies would do anything within reason to retain drivers. This is sometimes true of small outfits with five or ten trucks, but large carriers have thousands of drivers on the road. This makes across the board wage hikes and better benefit packages a massive investment that requires raising shipping rates as an offset.

Some companies are using this strategy, regardless, to reduce turnover and retain professional truckers. Raising shipping costs exposes carriers to tougher competition from companies with lower labor costs. These firms should be applauded for taking financial risks in an effort to keep skilled drivers on the road. Tax incentives and regulations can keep trucking companies out of rate wars that harm the entire industry by creating a race to the bottom.

Better pay and benefits in trucking will go a long way toward fixing the problem. Other issues that need to be addressed include:

  • Increasing home time –  an empty driver’s seat is a scary thing for trucking companies, but allowing drivers more time at home is doable and will help with retention and turnover.
  • Reducing erratic work schedules – though unavoidable at times, every effort should be made to keep drivers on a consistent schedule. Working during the day on a Thursday, then overnight on Friday is extremely disruptive to your sleep patterns. The jet lag effect can linger for days. I think everyone would prefer to have well-rested truck drivers on the road.
  • Reducing downtime – carriers want to reduce driver wait time for load assignments, breakdowns, shipping/receiving delays, and weather related problems, but the logistics of accomplishing this are very difficult. Advancing technology, combined with serious cooperation between carriers and shippers could lead to improvements in this area.
  • Increasing compensation for downtime – policies for paid downtime vary greatly from company to company. A typical pay schedule for truck drivers that have to wait a long time to get loaded or unloaded is that the first two hours are unpaid, and any time after that is compensated at an hourly rate up to a maximum of six hours a day. The same is usually true for breakdowns. Weather delays, lack of load assignments, and extended wait time for repairs sometimes go unpaid. If drivers report for work ready and willing to do their job, there should be some sort of minimum guaranteed compensation. Unpaid time should be limited to the first two hours in most situations.
  • Improving driver education – short term truck driving schools are designed to ready drivers for employment with a carrier. Students are taught rules, regulations, pre-trip inspections, how to fill out logbooks, and to achieve competency maneuvering a tractor-trailer. This does not mean they are trained drivers; just that they possess the fundamentals to begin on-the-job training, and to be paid for their efforts. The trucking industry might consider collaborating with vocational and technical schools to expand availability of more intense and long term driver-training programs.

The current model of commercial truck driving schools are the only option for many seeking a career in trucking. The compressed curriculum these schools offer allows students to begin earning training pay in a little as three weeks. A longer trade school course could be a good choice for students that are able to attend class full-time for six months, or even a year though.

Graduates of these schools would require less time with a company trainer. Over-the-road drivers must be 21 years old, but intra-state drivers can get a CDL at eighteen. This makes technical school driver training a good fit for young people interested in a trucking career. Truck driving should be treated as a trade and taught alongside auto repair and plumbing.

The Bright Side for Truck Drivers

It is estimated that the industry has a shortfall of 30,000 truck drivers, and that the problem will only get worse. This is a good thing for current and potential drivers. Demand is high, and supply is down; the market must adapt. Carriers are going to put more emphasis on recruiting and retaining drivers in the future or they will fall behind.

The Truth About Operating Self-Driving Trucks

World Premiere Freightliner Inspiration Truck
Self-driving tractor-trailers are not the wave of the future. They are the present. They are already on our highways. They are licensed and rolling in at least one state — Nevada. Keep in mind this is just a test run for the looming switchover to self-driving trucks industry-wide. This concept terrifies the majority of truckers out there. Robots taking over big rigs, and jobs, is the biggest threat possible for truck drivers just trying to earn a living. How can truckers find a happy median with the advent of self-driving trucks?
The old saying, “If you can’t beat them, join them” comes to mind.

Image Daimler North America

Furthermore, self-driving trucking isn’t as extreme as it seems. Plus, truck drivers will still be in demand, even though they will need to have some tech skills that their predecessors lacked to secure trucking jobs. As it stands now in 2015, Diamler, the forerunner of self-driving rigs, plans to complete a decade-long testing phase, rolling over 1 million miles in self-driving trucks before sending them into production. That gives you 10 years to either retire, which will be the case for the baby boomers of trucking, or to step up your tech game. Millennials, who drool over high-tech, will be ready and willing to slide behind the wheels of these computerized cabs. For those stuck somewhere in the middle, the best thing you can do is learn everything you can about operating and “driving” a self-driving truck. After all, knowledge is power.

Trucking Gets Transformed

Take a step back and consider what these automated trucks really involve. Truckers aren’t going to be replaced, but there will be a learning curve for drivers young and old. How great that curve will be, only time will tell. However, the idea of a self-driving trucker is similar to the concept of automated airline pilots and self-harvesting combines for farmers. If you look at the self-driving technology from that perspective, you realize truckers are only coming up to the times of high-tech automation. In light of that revelation, the truck driving industry is making what appears to be a major leap, but in reality it has simply taken the industry far too long to catch up to speed. In other words, it was only a matter of time before tractor-trailers were updated with more advantageous technologies that reduce accidents, increase fuel economy, and offer truck drivers with a safer job environment.

Learning to Drive a Robotic Rig

First things first, for those Knight Rider fans out there, you might be disappointed to learn that the technical advancements of automated trucks aren’t that out of left field. Here are some of the things you’ll see with the tech-centric trucks:

  • When your truck has a mechanical problem the onboard computer will alert you in a soothing voice like Siri or your current GPS system.
  • If you are slow to respond, the truck will automatically pull over while waiting to hear from you. This will reduce technical errors and mechanical failures that go undetected, resulting in costly and dangerous issues on down the road.
  • Radar sensors and forward-facing stereoscopic cameras are the technologies used to keep the truck rolling along the highway. Self-driving rigs aren’t using anything as futuristic as the fully automated, self-driving Google cars. This means truck drivers will still be hired and required to drive these self-driving big rigs.
  • Overriding the controls is as easy as manually moving the steering wheel or tapping the brake, so there’s not a need to operate some Star Trek-worthy command station to get your rig in gear.
  • It will not auto-drive when there is snow, rain or 30 mph crosswinds, which ensures you won’t lose control during a sudden storm while working diligently on your crosswords, I mean log books.

Get Into the Self-Driving Seat

A quick look inside Diamler’s Freightliner Inspiration self-driving big rig shows that you will still need your trusty key to crank up the engine. You’ll still have a steering wheel, gas pedal, brakes and gear shift. From the outside in, the truck looks exactly the same as traditional trucks, save some streamlining and fancy paint. The license plate is really the only indicator that something is different. It features an infinity symbol to the left of the license number. Now, to the big difference inside, which is the prominently displayed tablet computer, similar to an iPad. It is cradled on the dashboard in the place where truckers usually house lots of chrome-covered knobs and dials. Here’s what you can do with that tablet:

  • Manage all of your gauges that previously cluttered up your dashboard.
  • Map out your route, choose your destination, and let your truck get you there while you sit back and do paperwork or enjoy the view.
  • Automatically and safely get close enough behind another rig so you can draft or set up a truck platoon, which cuts down on your fuel use/cost.
  • Handle your log book and associated paperwork, sending it to the necessary offices in seconds.
  • Communicate with trucking companies, dispatchers, customers or other truckers.
  • Coordinate your next delivery route.

In terms of a learning curve, the biggest thing truckers will have to figure out is how to run the tablet and what to do if that technology goes haywire. This will involve some level of truck driver training programs geared at high-tech issues. Thankfully tablet technology, aka iPads and Kindles, is quite popular among American households. For most truckers they will either already own or know how to use a tablet, which gives them an advantage.

Trucker Training Programs for Self-Driving Rigs

When dealing with changes to the truck driving schools’ training programs, you have to keep in mind that truckers are still driving their rigs. Self-driving technology only functions during long stretches of traffic-free highways. When navigating through a city, delivering to docks, and driving in inclement weather, truckers are doing the driving. That means truck driving schools will still do what they do best, which is teach truckers the essentials of operating a tractor-trailer. However, expect to see an added course on the tech side of things. This will focus on the different apps and programs installed and accessible through the tablet. Truckers aren’t going to be required to have a computer science background or IT experience.

From a Trucking Company’s POV

In case you are curious to how well the idea of self-driving trucks is rolling over in the minds of trucking companies, the Washington Post spoke with Swift Transportation president Richard Stocking. He feels that “This definitely could be a win-win for the driver and the company he works for, to be able to do other things when he is in that autonomous mode.” Stocking envisions truckers handling an array of tasks behind the wheel from imputing load information on a tablet to tracking their deliveries. He adds that this type of technology will attract millennial drivers, along with college students hoping to earn a weekend wage. Drivers could potentially increase their earning potential by handling additional tasks, such as dispatching, while behind the wheel. Truckers hoping to increase their wages, while decreasing stresses of driving day after day will see great promise in the use of self-driving technology once the initial shock of the change blows over.

What You Need to Know About Your DAC Report

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Your Drive-A-Check report, commonly called a DAC, is the tell-all of any trucker. It tells everything about your trucking career, from your haul type to whether or not you were fired from your last trucking job. It is your credit report in the trucking world. But when is the last time you checked out your DAC? Whether or not you are searching for trucking jobs you need to get into the habit of giving your DAC a once over every year, at the same time you request your annual credit report. Find out what to look for, what to do if your DAC report is falsified, and how your DAC report is utilized by trucking companies.

The 411 on DAC Reports

A DAC report gives the details on every move you make during your truck driving career. It is broken down into two sections. The first section lists your MVR in detail. The second section focuses on your work history. Here are the types of information listed on your DAC:

  • Reasons why you left any trucking jobs
  • How many trucking accidents you’ve been involved in
  • Types of trucks you have driven, i.e. trucks less than 26,000 lbs. versus trucks over 26,000 lbs.
  • Haul types you’ve pulled, i.e. flatbed hauls, reefer trailers, tanker loads,  long haul trucking, regional loads, oversized loads, etc.
  • Commodities hauled, i.e. grain hauler, bull hauler jobs, car hauler jobs, oversized loads, boat haulers, etc.
  • Type of truck driving, i.e. Class A, Class B or Class C truck drivers, long distance trucking jobs, local trucking jobs, etc.
  • If you are eligible to be rehired or have had your CDL suspended or revoked
  • Your social security number
  • Your CDL number and list of any endorsements, i.e. haz mat, tanker or combo endorsements
  • Drug and alcohol test histories
  • If you have ever applied or received worker’s compensation
  • Any injury reports while on the job
  • Any criminal reports on your record

Anything and everything about your trucking job career is included in your DAC report. So, who uses your DAC? Everyone involved in hiring and firing you, for starters.

Trucking Companies and DAC Reports

When you go for trucking jobs at a national trucking company, such as Celadon Trucking, Crete Carrier or Conway, your DAC will be a part of the hiring process. If a potential trucking carrier requests to view your DAC report you will receive notification from your state’s licensing bureau alerting you to the request. At the same time, this is why it is so important that you keep a check on your DAC report. You might not be searching for trucking jobs now. However, in the near future, you may be looking for better paying trucking jobs in the future. Or you could be an owner operator now working as an independent driver who decides to go to work for a trucking company for more regular trucking jobs and less stress. There are countless reasons why you should always be a step ahead of yourself in your trucking career. Checking your DAC on a yearly basis is one of those important steps to take.

How to View Your DAC Report

“But my DAC report just tells facts about my driving history, so why should I check on it?”
Here’s the rub. DAC reports can contain errors, computer or human generated, just like your financial credit report. You may have left your last trucking job on bad terms, or were fired by someone with a serious mean streak. Identity theft is another theory. Say someone steals your identity and goes on a midnight drive, landing them in jail with a DUI and homicide charge, all while using your identity. That right there would cause you to get turned down by any trucking company on the spot. Save yourself the trouble. Keep a check on your DAC report. It’s free to check every 12 months, just like your credit score. If your DAC report contains errors it is best to catch these sooner than later, as the process to get these things patched up can be time consuming. Here’s how to check your DAC as a company truck driver or an owner operator:

  • Contact HireRight, the company responsible for maintaining DAC reports, to request your free DAC report
  • If you need to go the snail mail route, their address is
    • HireRight, ATTN: Consumers Dept, PO Box 33181, Tulsa, OK
  • Alternatively call HireRight at 800-381-0645 Monday to Friday, 7 am to 7 pm Central Time OR fax them your written request at 918-664-5520

Checking Your DAC Report

If you think that a trucking company or carrier made incorrect statements on your DAC report, it might be a possibility. As with any company employing individuals, there are instances when disgruntled bosses and employees get into disagreements. One such disagreement could occur when your trucking employer terminates you because of something you don’t feel is correct. This is why you need to check out your DAC report from time to time, but especially after you’ve quit, been fired or lost a trucking job. Here is an example of a trucking company making false DAC reports:

  • CCJ reports that in July 2015 New Prime Inc. had to pay a former trucker approximately $20,000 in back wages. A federal judge made the ruling after New Prime was found guilty of posting damaging and misleading information on the driver’s DAC report.

While this behavior is an exception, it never hurts to make sure your DAC report is on the up and up.

How to Improve Your DAC Report

While keeping your stick on the ice is the best way to avoid getting a dinged up DAC, things happen sometimes. If you have received a bad DAC report, for failing a drug test for instance, you are likely interested in improving your DAC. After all, any trucking company you want to work for would have serious questions about such an incident on your report. The first thing to do is expand your horizons:

  • Go to a trucking job board where you can send out one application to dozens of trucking companies.
  • Submit the application to all sizes of companies ranging from small scale carriers to national trucking companies.
  • Smaller carriers are less likely to utilize the DAC report in comparison to big trucking companies.
  • By increasing your trucking job odds, you have a much higher chance of finding a company willing to work with you.

Once you are hired, do your absolute best to improve your trucking career. While no-fault accidents do happen, there are other things you can improve upon:

  • Not failing a drug test
  • Passing your driver inspections with flying colors
  • Staying with the company for at least a year
  • Not doing anything to get yourself fired in general

By improving your DAC report at that job you clean the slate a bit. Then the next time you are searching for better paying trucking jobs from big trucking companies, like CR England or Swift Transportation, you will be a much better looking trucking job candidate.

Here’s How Much You Can Earn Now as a Trucker in New York City

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Living and working in the Capital of the World is both exhilarating and, at times, overwhelming for anyone. As a truck driver, however, you are in for a whole new experience. If you are a born and bred New Yorker you are most likely accustomed to the frantic pace of traffic in the Big Apple, but for truckers on the outskirts this is the ideal spot to set up shop as a truck driver interested in seeing it all. In addition to being in the middle of the most action packed city on earth, you get a chance to challenge yourself as a trucker and add major rungs to your belt of accomplishments. Give your trucking career a boost by spending some time navigating and transporting loads through the hustle and bustle of the city that never sleeps. For all of your work and efforts, exactly how much do these truck driving jobs in NY bring in? Thankfully the numbers are substantial in comparison to cities throughout the rest of the US.

Average Annual Salary of Truck Drivers in New York City

Truckers in NYC are earning an average yearly income of $70,000. This median salary is 36 percent more than truck drivers are earning per year on average throughout the rest of the nation. More specifically, truckers in New York City earn the following:

  • Student truckers in truck driving schools in New York City earn between $42,000 and $56,000
  • Class A CDL drivers earn $56,000 to $84,000 a year
  • Regional and intermodal truck drivers in NYC earn $70,000 to $78,000
  • OTR truckers based in NYC bring home an estimated $91,000 to $112,000 annually
  • Independent team truck drivers in New York City earn $98,000 to $140,000 a year per driver
  • NYC OTR owner operators bring home $140,000 to $369,000 annually
  • Trucking company team drivers in NYC earn approximately $199,000
  • Regional owner operators in New York City earn $241,000

As you can see, in comparison to other cities with trucking jobs, such as Atlanta, GA or Los Angeles, CA, New York City is a top earner for truck drivers across the board. One interesting type of trucking jobs in NYC that isn’t noted for most metro areas is intermodal truck driving jobs. Intermodal involves multiple forms of transportation to handle loads. For New York City, this typically refers to transport by truck and rail. Trucking companies in NYC that provide intermodal transport include:

Truckers who haul containers, take oversized loads, or are certified for hazardous materials and/or tanker loads on their CDL are in a prime position to take on intermodal transport jobs in NYC. These jobs range from regional trucking jobs in NYC that allow truckers to be home nightly, as well as OTR trucking jobs distributing goods received from port deliveries via the rail system.

What to Expect: Trucking Jobs in New York City

New York City is home to nearly 8.5 million residents packed into 305 square miles. At that number alone New York City is the most populated city in the US. However, it is also one of the world’s most visited cities. In 2014 The City So Nice They Named It Twice had a mind boggling 56 million tourists. Truck drivers are in demand to haul everything from reefer loads of produce to tanker loads of beverages into the hospitality hotspots throughout the city. From the finest dining restaurants to thousands of corner coffee shops, to hotels and tourists attractions, there are plenty of trucking jobs in constant demand to keep the city continuously in motion. Keep in mind that if you need to deliver to streets throughout NYC’s five boroughs you have to follow some city-wide regulations.

Driving a Big Rig in NYC

For CDL jobs in NYC the main thing to note is that tractor trailers longer than 55 feet are not permitted. If you are hauling oversized loads request a permit that gives you access to drive through some of the US’s most congested cities. The keys here include being well rested, on high alert and fully aware of where you are going to be making your delivery. Here are some tips to help you stay on the busy streets with the least amount of stress:

  • Before leaving for your delivery double-check your delivery information. Call and talk to the delivery recipient; avoid depending on the office assistant or telephone receptionist for directions or delivery specifics as they may not have all of the information you need.
  • Use every resource available for getting directions for your truck driving route in NYC. Use an up-to-date paper map of the city along with your GPS system in coordination with your written out direction information. By having these three points of navigation, you will be confident that you won’t get lost or be misguided, even in the instant of an emergency road closing, road work or inclement weather.
  • Speaking of weather, check and recheck the forecast for the city before driving into NYC. Especially in the fall and winter months, this northeastern mega-city can be a disaster for dropping loads on time.
  • Double-check your tractor and trailer before entering the city. Your flatbed loads must be secured with straps and tie downs, which you should check before you hit the busy streets. There will not be anywhere to stop and pull over once you get into the chaos of New York City traffic. It goes without saying to check your fuel gage as truck stops off the highway and interstate do not exist in the Big Apple.

Once you start driving in the city avoid getting stressed out. While the yellow cabs will honk themselves to death, and pedestrians will dart out of nowhere, you cannot let this get in the way of doing your job. Trucking jobs pay very well, so in order to keep yours, stay focused and avoid letting the bright lights of the big city blind you.

Industrial Situation of NYC

While manufacturing and agriculture are not exactly synonymous with New York City, several industries are including:

  • Wall Street and the financial sector

  • Silicon Alley and high technology

  • Tourism and the hospitality markets

  • Media and entertainment aka filming, television, print media and book publishing

As a trucker you might find yourself hauling dry van loads of computers and printers to Wall Street investors restructuring their offices. The high tech industry is involved in everything from Internet connectivity to video games. For truckers this means hauling anything from Internet cable and computer chips to video game consoles and expensive games for kids. In the media and entertainment industries, truckers hauling truckloads of newspaper reams, published hardcover books and magazine subscriptions from NYC based printing presses are common. However, you could also transport caustic cleaning solution in tanker loads thanks to your hazmat and tanker CDL certification to printing presses. Keeping the city that never sleeps moving requires a great deal of work, which means plenty of trucking jobs in New York City for truckers like yourself. Whether you choose to go as an owner operator or to work for trucking companies in NYC, you’ll be able to keep yourself busy making some of the best pay in the US.